Bills Front Office: Younger, But Will It Be Better? - 01/02/13
The most important thing new Bills front man Russ Brandon said on New Year's Day at noon was that until they actually prove something, it's all just talk. But so far I like what I am seeing and hearing. In past years of failure, the Bills were slow to move, slow to act and in many cases did nothing substantial at all. Now? The last day of 2012 signaled the end of Chan Gailey as head coach. The first day of 2013 signaled the end of Ralph Wilson's meaningful impact on the franchise. And it also signaled the beginning of the end of Buddy Nix role as the general manager. When the cloud of irrelevancy settles, the Bills will eventfully be some 100 years younger in three main roles on the team. Will younger be better? In one important way there is no doubt.
Brandon talked about new, energetic, innovative thinking. Then right after the news conference got on a plane and started to seek a new head coach. Now the man who has the ability to make that call is right in the room, making what would appear to be a thought out, impassioned plea as to why he believes Buffalo is a "plum opportunity" to coach in the league. Brandon, with the GM team of Nix (experience) and Doug Whaley (heir apparent) can show the potential coach that the Bills operate differently than in the past. Because the truth is, in the past, any coaching candidate would need to be flown out to Detroit for a face to face meeting with Ralph Wilson before any final decision is made. With all due respect to Wilson's Hall of Fame credentials and his iconic image inside One Bills Drive, it's hard to sell innovation when the final say comes from a 90 something year old man.
Brandon spoke with great respect for Nix and his ability to scout and find players. But a skywriter about the stadium would only be slightly less subtle than the overriding impression that Whaley is set to take over sooner rather than later. I like Brandon's willingness to incorporate a version of moneyball to football. But in football there is a still a very big place for scouting and watching players in both college and the pros. If Nix is willing to go back to that role, I think he could have a valuable place for the franchise. If not, it's my opinion, they will find another "football man" that will.
In the unlucky and inept 13 years of non-playoff football for the Bills franchise, the only head coach that has gotten a second contract was Dick Jauron and he did not deserve it. Wouldn't it be a great thing if in a couple of years, the Bills were running to their current head coach with a pen and contract extension because he's outperformed his deal? Brandon's first decision as the Bills big man will be by far his most important. He need to pick a leader. I don't care if he's an offensive or defensive "genius" I don't care if he has NFL or college experience. I don't care if he costs $2 million or $10 million. I know who I like (Bill O'Brien, David Shaw, Mike Zimmer) but I am not the one making that call. Russ Brandon wanted the job and he got it. Now he's got to prove he deserves it and he can take a major step in that process right now.